I am sitting in the living room in my warm house, sheltered from the heavy rain. It’s pounding down and I can’t help but think about a young woman I met Friday night. Her name is Jackie and I know God led me across her path.
I was on my way home from work and had stopped to do some shopping at Walmart. There was a McDonald’s inside this Walmart and I was curious about their new CBO burger. The line inside the McDonald’s was long, so I decided to stop at a different one on my way home.
After thinking about all the possible McDonald’s to stop at between my job and home, I decided to go to the one nearest to my house. Traffic was still heavy on the freeways but I didn’t expect that to be a problem. I was wrong. As I rounded what we know locally as the Marconi curve on Business 80, I ran into heavier traffic than usual. Experience has taught me that if it’s heavy there, it’s likely heavy all the way to downtown. I wasn’t up for that so I exited at El Camino. I usually get off on Arden or Exposition when traffic is heavy, but for some reason I chose El Camino.
With that decision, I also decided to stop at a different McDonald’s, so I drove down Howe Avenue towards home and that McDonald’s. I was really looking forward to trying their new CBO burger…I was hungry!
As I approached the McDonald’s, I recalled that there was (and still is!) a new In-n-Out Burger nearby and an animal-style cheeseburger with animal-style fries suddenly sounded much more appealing. It was an easy decision to make! I drove past the McDonald’s and made the turn that would take me to In-n-Out.
The line at the In-n-Out drive-thru wasn’t too bad for a Friday night and it didn’t take long for me to place my order. Instead of rolling my window up, I left it down to enjoy the smell of the rain-washed air. I also opened one of the books I’d bought at Walmart and began reading. As the cars ahead of me pulled forward, I put the book down, stepped off the brakes and then saw a young woman and her dog on the right, trying to cross the drive-thru lane. I stepped back on the brakes and waved her through, and she ackowledged me with a smile and a wave.
After she crossed the drive-thru lane, she turned to look at me and said ‘Thanks!” with a smile. Then she paused for a moment, took a breath, and asked, “Can you help me? I was just evicted today and don’t have any money for food. Do you have a couple of dollars?”
This young woman looked at me with hope, risking my rejection, and her dog stood patiently by her side. They were both wet and it was a cold evening. I had no cash, and my heart sank. “I’m sorry, I don’t have any cash.” My mind raced, trying to come up with options. The drive-thru line was slow, and I couldn’t get out of my car to buy her something; I didn’t know how long I’d be waiting.
“Maybe you could buy me a burger?” she asked. I looked at the line of cars ahead of me again, then looked back at her. “Sure, I can do that. Meet me at the front door and I’ll buy you a burger as soon as I get through the line.”
Her face brightened with a smile, and she said, “Thank you! I’ll meet you there.” and she walked away, her dog beside her.
Thankfully the drive-thru line went quickly, and after I paid for my meal and received it I drove out of the lane and discovered an open parking spot right in front.
I parked, got out of the car and walked to the front door to meet the young woman with her dog. “What would you like?” I asked her.
“Just a small burger, and maybe one for my dog?”
“Did you want a drink?” I asked, “If so, what kind?”
“One of the employees gave me a water, I don’t need a drink,” she answered. “If you wanted, maybe a small fries?”
“No problem!” I answered. “I’ll be right back.”
It was a busy night inside In-n-Out, but it didn’t take long for me to place my order. “I’d like a double-double with fries, and a plain hamburger.”
While I was in the drive-thru line, I’d been thinking about what to order and it was clear to me. God gives to us generously; He is not a miserly, stingy God with His gifts, and He wanted me to give accordingly to this young woman. I knew I couldn’t do much beyond buying her this meal, but I wanted this meal to be at least as good a meal as I’d order for myself, not less than I’d order for myself.
I felt strongly about that. My gift to this young woman had to be at least equal to what I’d do for myself. I had the money to buy a meal for myself, and I’d just spent money at Walmart buying ingredients to make Christmas cookies, another luxury that this young woman didn’t have. If I was going to skimp on something, it would be for me and not for her and her dog.
After waiting for nearly 10 minutes, I finally got her order and went outside to give it to her. “Did you want ketchup with your fries?” I asked. “I can go inside and get you some.”
“No, I don’t need any ketchup,” she replied. “Thank you so much for this!”
“I also bought a burger for your dog,” I told her.
“Thank you! My name is Jackie.” She reached out to shake my hand.
“God bless you,” she replied with a beautiful smile. She reached inside the bag as her dog was sniffing it, pulled the burger out and began feeding it to him. He was such a polite dog, gently taking the burger pieces from her hand even though he was hungry.
“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll be praying for you.” I felt a bit foolish saying this. It’s such an easy phrase to say, and it can be used as a cop-out to sound good but to really avoid doing something to help. Buying the burgers for her and her dog was easy and didn’t cost me much, but it was the most I could do at that time.
She looked at me again with that beautiful smile and said, “Thank you, I need the prayers.”
We chatted for another moment, then I said goodbye and walked to my car. As I walked past a parked car, I heard a voice come out of it. “That was a really nice thing to do.”
I looked at the man in the car and said, “Thanks,” then continued to my warm, dry car and home. Home to a house with a roof, heat, and plenty of food.
God was there on Friday. He ordained my meeting with Jackie. My seemingly impulsive decisions led me to that moment, where I could be a vessel of His love for her.
My goal in sharing this is to encourage each of you to follow those small urges to step outside your plan. Don’t be so tied to your plans that you miss the opportunities to be used by God.
Be generous with your giving, don’t be stingy. I don’t mean to give what you don’t have or can’t reasonably afford (unless God is clearly telling you otherwise); it’s important to be financially wise but also to give something you would like to receive. When I go to In-n-Out, I don’t order myself the smallest, cheapest burger and drink on the menu and forgo the fries, I buy the animal-style cheeseburger with fries and an extra-large iced tea. I am also blessed with a husband who has no problem with me helping someone in need, who doesn’t count the pennies and make me feel guilty for helping.
God was telling me that He wanted Jackie to know He loved her enough to give her more than she expected, which is why I ordered her the double-double with fries. I wanted her to know that I valued her as a human being, that I respected her as a person, and that I didn’t see her as worth less than me simply because she was homeless and looked a bit rough around the edges.
Let God’s love flow through you to those He puts in your path. It’s not your job to convert them, it’s simply your job to be available to God and let Him use you to fulfill His plan for them. God didn’t call me to preach to Jackie; He simply called me to buy her a double-double cheeseburger with fries, a plain burger for her dog, and most importantly, to acknowledge her as a person, to look her in the eyes and to love her and keep her in my prayers.
Jackie, I prayed for you again today. Wherever you are, I hope you know that God loves you and that you are a beautiful, valuable person and that He delights in you.
My site was hacked last week. Not fun! After working with my webhost provider, it’s finally back up. I’m reinstalling it a bit at a time, so the old site (linked at the top of the sidebar) isn’t up and running yet.
If you’ve come here looking for something from the old site and it’s not up yet, post a comment here and I’ll take care of it as soon as I can.
Last night my husband and I watched “The Young Victoria” and one scene had us looking at each other and laughing, because it reminded us so much of us.
To set the background for that scene, Albert and Victoria had had an argument regarding an attempt by Albert to help Victoria with the political aspect of her ladies-in-waiting. As soon as they reached their bedroom, Victoria became angry with Albert regarding his attempt to help her, accusing him of usurping her position as queen and seeing her as a helpless and pathetic woman.
At that point, Albert calmly looked at her and told her he was leaving so she didn’t upset herself and endanger the baby. His cool logic in the face of her anger enraged her, and she demanded that he stay in the room because she was the queen. He didn’t. He left without another word as Victoria continued to demand that he stay.
Here is a clip:
The next morning, Victoria walked out to their carriage with cool politeness, and as she settled in the carriage Albert walked out of the palace and sat in the carriage next to her. She looked away and he calmly looked straight ahead as he adjusted his gloves. She finally turned her head slightly towards him and said, “There is no need for you to accompany me.”
Albert replied, “I said I would come with you so I will come with you.” without even a glance in her direction. Victoria didn’t respond and looked away from Albert with the firm resolve to ignore him.
Andrew (my husband) and I looked at each other and began laughing hysterically. It reminded both of us of different scenes in our marriage! We have had our battles for sure, and we both identified with Albert and Victoria as this scene played out.
Had I watched this movie before I was married, I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to this scene, but my perspective has changed. Ideas about how my marriage would be before I was married have dramatically changed in the face of experience, and that’s a good thing.
I am glad that Andrew and I can laugh about those moments as we both work towards being more loving towards and understanding of each other. We are learning that while our marriage has its difficult moments, it also has great reward.
Immediately after this scene, as Albert and Victoria were riding in the carriage, a man attempted to shoot Victoria and Albert pushed her behind him to protect her. While historically inaccurate, in the movie Albert was grazed by the bullet and rushed back to the palace for medical care. Victoria was panicked, afraid that Albert would die.
After the doctor left their bedroom, Victoria rushed over to their bed and leaned over Albert. I can’t do justice to one of the most romantic movie scenes ever, so I’ll let the clip explain instead:
Marriage is a wonderful thing, indeed! While I am certainly not a queen and Andrew is far from a prince, this story could be ours in some ways. I am a strong-willed, independent and romantic woman and Andrew is a practical, at times coldly (to me) logical man, and learning to grow together is one of our most difficult yet rewarding challenges.
God is in the business of changing people, and He is doing a great work with the two of us. Someday we’ll look back at our arguments and laugh hysterically because they – WE! – were so silly
After running across this blog post by Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking, my husband and I are beginning to drink 2 teaspoons of unfiltered unpasteurized apple cider vinegar every morning. We add it to a glass of water to dilute the strength of the flavor. I really like the taste of it so I don’t need to mix it with honey as suggested. It’s light and refreshing!
Some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar include:
Rich in enzymes & potassium
Support a healthy immune system
Helps control weight
Promotes digestion & ph Balance
Helps soothe dry throats
Helps remove body sludge toxins
Helps maintain healthy skin
Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
Soothes irritated skin
Relieves muscle pain from exercise
(from the Bragg.com website)
Other benefits listed by Lindsay include:
~Balances pH (acid-alkaline balance in the blood)
~Helps control cholesterol levels
~Increases muscular and nerve strength and vitality
~Fights viruses and bacteria
~Improves brain function
~Promotes healthy hair and skin tone
~Softener of the artery walls
~Increases efficiency of all body processes and elimination
I’ve also read that it helps with energy. We used to drink our vinegar every morning a few months ago but didn’t stay with it consistently. With winter fast approaching, it seems like as good a time as any to begin again, and to stick with it!
What are your thoughts/experiences with apple cider vinegar?
This morning in church we sang one of my favorite hymns:
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
Here is a video of Chris August singing it:
As the congregation was singing this, I was sitting and absorbing the words. “I surrender all…I surrender all. All to Jesus, I surrender, I surrender all…” The absolute trust and faith in these words reached deep into my heart, into the hidden places where I bury the things I am unwilling to surrender…hurt, fear, even anger. There is a hurt little girl hiding deep inside, afraid to risk, afraid to trust, angry at betrayals, indifference, and abandonment. She clings to all of this, afraid to believe that if she surrenders that Jesus will be there for her, that He will be ENOUGH for her, even when people fail her.
God is not calling me to surrender the easy things…my time, money, or talents…He’s calling me to surrender my heart, my hopes, my fears, those things that I have buried deep inside. These will cost me the most to give to Him, because these are the most difficult things to surrender.
“If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” ~ Matthew 16:25
In doing some searching about this concept, I ran across a free online edition of Andrew Murray’s book “Absolute Surrender“. In the first chapter, Andrew describes the path to absolute surrender. Those steps are:
- God expects your surrender
- God accomplishes your surrender
- God accepts your surrender
- God maintains your surrender
- God blesses when you surrender
I haven’t read any of Andrew Murray’s books in a long time, and I have been missing out because of that! There is so much to learn from his writings, and I am eager to begin reading his books again, starting with this one. I’ll be blogging about what God shows me through this book, and I hope you get as much – if not more! – out of it as I do
The most important relationship in my life after my relationship with Christ is my relationship with my husband. We married in early 2008 and have had our ups and downs, but we are both striving to have a thriving marriage instead of a simply surviving marriage.
One thing I am still learning is that I can’t change my husband, I can only change me. When I read this post on Time-Warp Wife’s blog, I knew I needed to participate. I want my marriage to be one of uncommon love, and as someone who never had a good example of marriage in my life when I was growing up, I need all the help I can get!
This week’s step is “Place all hope for your marriage in the hands of the Lord.” Oh, how I need to drill that into my heart and my head! I keep hoping that something my husband or I will do will suddenly turn our marriage into the stuff of fairy tales, but that’s not real life.
I wish it was that easy, and when I look at the struggles we’ve had learning to communicate and live together, I tend to get frustrated. Other marriages seem to be so effortless while ours can sometimes seem like a daily battle. It can be easy to lose hope, and I wonder will we ever truly love each other with an uncommon love?
I am anchored by the knowledge that God brought us together, that He was there on our wedding day and blessed our marriage, that my husband is committed to me even when he doesn’t like me, and that he really does love me, strangely enough!
I want to be the wife my husband deserves to have, and will be sharing that journey on this blog. Not only will it keep me accountable, but it helps me to write my thoughts down. I get clarity when I do that, and maybe in all of my sharing God will use something to touch one of you.
One of Lisa’s thoughts on this Wednesday’s post stood out to me…
No, marriage is more like a long, slow walk together. One step at a time. Sometimes we step backwards and lose a little bit of ground. At other times we find we’re making great strides. In any case, our Lord intended for us to walk it together and to walk in love.
Building a good marriage is a journey, and it helps to realize that there will be ups and downs. I am learning that marriage is one way that God works in our lives to conform us to the image of Christ, and that it has times of difficulty. Those hard times aren’t a failure, but a test. Do we rely on Christ to help us, or do we look to ourselves? Will we walk through those times together and with love, even when we don’t feel lovey-dovey? Are we willing to practice real love?
Do I trust God, and is my hope in Him rather than in me? How can I do this?
We can start by putting our hope in what the Lord says about our marriage and not listen to any voice which says otherwise. We can remember that we were made for love – and not just any love, but an uncommonly beautiful love – much like the love He has for us.
Write down three areas in your marriage that you want to be made beautiful. Maybe areas such as communication, affection, or working together.
The three areas I came up with are:
- Really listen to him
- Seriously and prayerfully consider all of his suggestions
- Get more involved with the finances
Welcome to my new blog For about a month I’ve been thinking of starting up blogging again but have been stumped with coming up with a name and a design. As you can see, I’ve finally figured out a name and a look for it. Using my main Anchored by Grace site was so obvious! The original ABG has been in limbo since my marriage; I haven’t designed any new websets, the forum is dead, I haven’t been linking anything to it…we have been paying for the hosting and I’ve been doing nothing with it.
The original site is still alive and well. If you’re looking for it you can find it at http://anchoredbygrace.com/oldsite/
I hope you come back often! My focus will be on my faith, my marriage, friends, our home, our cats and anything else that catches my interest. Comments are always welcome